Independent Plus

Watch the videos below to see previews of some of the best shows, music and television events that are happening this autumn

Frank Zappa was one of rock's crossover musicians

Rock 'n' Roll in Four Movements, Radio 4, Thursday
BBC Proms, Radio 3, daily

Concerto for hairies and orchestra

Prom 52: LSO, Gergiev, *****/Prom 53: I Fagiolini, Hollingworth, ****

Prokofiev’s ballet score for 'Cinderella' had to wait nearly seventy years for its Proms premiere, and one had to wonder whether - at 105 minutes and without a visual component - it might be over-long.

Simon Calder: Foreign Office seeks to enlighten travelling fans

Think twice about drinking in Poland: "You can be taken to a drying-out clinic, where you'll be medically assessed and not released until sober. You will be required to pay the cost of any overnight stay."

Sir Frederick Ashton's Romeo and Juliet, Coliseum, London

From ball to tomb in under two hours, these star-crossed lovers scorch their trail

Massenet Cendrillon, Royal Opera House, London

The words are in French but still familiar - “Once upon a time...” – and the story which follows, Cendrillon (that’s Cinderella to you and me), is writ large across the surfaces of Barbara de Limburg’s set, opening like a pop-up book of fairytales whose sliding panels have our eyes hanging on to every word.

Cinderella, Royal Opera House, London

Classic tale could do with a polish

Cinderella, London Coliseum

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Cinderella has swift storytelling, marvellous designs and a tender heart. New last Christmas, it has been a success on tour and on television, and arrives at the London Coliseum looking as bright as ever.

Romeo and Juliet, Coliseum, London

English National Ballet's Romeo and Juliet is hard work. Rudolf Nureyev, who created it for this company in 1977, could always squeeze in one more step, one more plot point, until he barely has room for his star-crossed lovers. The dancers pour energy into this Romeo, but they can't make it engaging.

Susie Mesure: Nifty footwork takes our dancers to new heights

If it's Christmas, it must be The Nutcracker: Clara and her wooden soldier doll are our constant companions during a season otherwise observed in ever different ways. At English National Ballet, which has danced the work every December for the past 59 years, the latest version of the Hoffmann classic opens on Friday for 32 performances at the Coliseum in London, the company's Christmas home.

Cinderella, Hippodrome, Birmingham

A familiar tale, traditionally told, a sumptuous look and bewitching sound. It must be Christmas

In the red: A gift to myself is wrapped with guilt

For once, the hate mail was not forthcoming. Given that any mention of non-essential spending in this column tends to be greeted with a flurry of "well aren't you jammy!" emails, I had thought that talk of a not-at-all-necessary, entirely indulgent, £65 ballet ticket would guarantee at least one negative response. Apparently not. Not so much as a peep.

Bourne launches search for the real Billy Elliots

Choreographer sets up talent competition to inspire youngsters

Cinderella, Coliseum, London

English National Ballet celebrates its 60th birthday this year, with a summer season of Cinderella. And doesn't the company look good! Michael Corder's choreography is full of classical steps, showing off strong footwork, clean lines and a sense of shared identity. At 60, English National Ballet looks happy and confident.

Ted Durante: Comic strongman and stalwart of 'The Good Old Days'

Ted Durante was the Tommy Cooper of strongman acts, whose valiant efforts to lift a weight, or balance a tray of drinks on the end of a pole, usually collapsed into disaster.

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International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

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Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

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Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
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Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
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Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

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Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future